So a friend of mine recently-ish filled out one of those Q/A lists about books on tumblr, and it got me thinking about books I haven’t read, and it got me thinking. Specifically, one of the books mentioned happened to touch on an anomaly in my reading habits, one of the few books that I’ve read out of sequence in a series without going back to read everything. I do believe I read it for a book reading contest in my junior high days (Battle of the Books, I do believe. Came close to winning the school-wide contest a few times, but those last couple rounds were always too tough to break), which meant that I wouldn’t have spared thought to reading an entire trilogy just to get at the last book.
However, this recent touch rekindled my interest in the Abhorsen series (Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen, by Garth Nix), since, well, it sounded like there was a whole lot more character development happening than the last book let on (you mean that warrior was a librarian earlier?). So I grabbed the entire series, sat down, and started reading last night. And well, now it’s tonight, and I’ve ended the last book in the last hour. Not sure if my game is slipping speed*comprehension-wise (yes, I’m multiplying them together), but any reading should help, right?
So thoughts… I’m actually not that tired. Sitting all day and reading doesn’t drain that much energy. Yes, this is what I did all day rather than go to San Fran.
Oh, you mean about the actual books? First, I should say that Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality has completely ruined fantasy genres for me. Okay, maybe not completely, since the Abhorsen series has a particular sticking point that engaged my mind, but I’m sure can’t read about magical worlds without hearing “I do now claim this territory in the name of SCIENCE!” echo through my head. Particular to the Abhorsen universe is the fact that magic and technology do not mix (not unique by a long shot, but useful as a category). I can’t help but think of a quote from the Clark, who said “Sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” (or something like that). From that perspective, you have one magic, and another, and they oppose each other. Since one is ‘deeper’ than the other, it wins when the two conflict. Simple enough. However, when one can see (or at least outline) all the steps involved in making a grenade, then it’s much less apparent how the tech-magic conflict works. Decomposing all the steps leads to mechanical steps you can undertake anywhere (or else swords couldn’t be smithed in the Old World, for instance), such that it doesn’t make sense that there is any tech-magic conflict.
I know I’m complaining about a fantasy story not making sense. Shush.
So, the plot makes so much more sense now. Nix tries to recap at the beginning of each book, but they really have to be read in sequence, as separate volumes of a large work. Actually, the first book and the last two are fairly decoupled, and the recapitulation from the second could cover for not reading the first (although it would smooth out the story telling to just read everything; sometimes obscure cross-references are made).
Forgive me for skipping through, I’m getting pretty tired.
However, I must say that this might be the first time I’ve consciously noticed character development. I personally think that it’s just due to heightened awareness, and Reading Marathon powers, but I’ll have to burn through a couple more stories before I figure out if I got the hang of it or not.
Anyways, I’m really tired. I’ve been staring at the screen for a few minutes, so I’ll take my leave here.